A year of making

This Thanksgiving I am reflecting on what I have learned, created, and shared. Here are some of the fun things I’ve been doing:

  • Original STEAM kits
  • Workshops
  • Daily Maker Programs
  • Personal Projects

Original STEAM kits

Flat-pack Carousel Kit

Joined the Make-HER Ladymakers in creating STEM workshops for mothers and daughters at the Sunnyvale Library. For my workshop on simple machines I designed and laser cut complete carousel kits powered by gears.

carousel_dragon.jpg

We started by understanding the gears on their own, then assembled carousels for them to move.

gear-base

Each kit is completely reconfigurable and flat packs for travel. Here is a summary of the workshop.

gears1

Carousels can also be combined to form chains powered by a single gear.

 


Workshops: 

  • Design and Assistive Tech
  • Modern Maker Skills

Design and Assistive Tech

Developed and ran a Design and Assistive Tech workshop, sponsored by Nasdaq, Inc and Accenture. Here’s a summary of it from the Stanford Daily. The first half of the workshop was an introduction to assistive technology design approaches with David L. Jaffe of Stanford. The students then met volunteers with disabilities and together brainstormed ways to address specific challenges. Then they made prototypes of their designs. In the second half of the workshop students assembled 3D printed prosthetic hands led by John Diamond.

Diamond_phoenix.jpg

Modern Maker Skills for Teen Force

Helped develop and run a modern maker skill training and job readiness workshop series that teaches basic hand tools, 3D design, 3D printer maintenance, Arduino programming and building sensor circuits, how to solder a paper circuit logic gate, and how to tell a story with data.


Daily Maker Programs

My programs team put together some fantastic interactive learning experiences this year including  Just Wing It, From Here to There,  BioTinkering Lab, daily Maker and Engineering Experience Prototyping, VR prototyping for upcoming exhibits, and more. Here’s a quick video to get a feel for a day at the museum (that’s my 3D printed molds at 0:40 and me at 0:44).

Maker programs I run include:

  • Catapults
  • Wind powered devices
  • Zip line delivery systems
  • DIY prosthetics
  • Inflatable sculptures
  • Squishy circuits
  • Paper circuits
  • Soft circuits
  • Moving art with linkages
  • Mechanical movements for zoetropes and foam automata
  • Stop-motion videos with light cubes
  • Interactive haunted houses
  • App design
  • Molecular Gastronomy
  • And so much more!

I am incredibly proud of the breadth and quality of what we make.

I get to design and fabricate all kinds of things for these programs. I laser cut vast amounts of plastic and paper for projects like last year’s Ada Lovelace Day Learn to Solder badge. I used our Shopbot PRSalpha CNC to cut the pieces for From Here to There, and to engrave and cut the polycarbonate parts we use in our mushroom lab. I designed, tweaked, and 3D printed parts for exhibits, programs, and charity.

Charity work I do includes printing eNABLE Phoenix hands for donation and printing tactile communication symbols for Junior Blind of America.


Personal Projects

Making at work has inspired me to make more at home too.

  • Laser cut jewelry
  • Arduino and RPi experiments
  • Costumes
  • 3D printed props and tools
  • Paper circuit pop-up cards for the holidays
  • Resin jewelry
  • Bike maintenance (how to repack the bearings in a wheel)

And I make sure I find time to get out hiking, dancing, and singing. This year I started learning Lindy Hop, which has been delightful.

I have so much to be thankful for this year, and so many wonderful people in my life that inspire and encourage me every day.

 

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